Tag Archives: Horizons

How our waterways are polluted – Crown concedes it failed to protect Lake Horowhenua

Lake Horowhenua, Levin, NZ
Lake Horowhenua, Levin, NZ

An article in the Manawatu Standard reports on a Waitangi Tribunal Hearing that began in Levin today, 5th October 2015

A visit to the Horowhenua district earlier this year led me to discover the shocking history of this lake, in particular, the way the owners, the Muaupoko Iwi have been treated throughout the whole process. (Lake Horowhenua is near Levin). Download and read the whole history of the Lake and how it was incrementally taken over, a long but essential read to understand the background of this story:

“In the beginning.. Not content with the land they lived on, it wasn’t long before the settlers of Levin coveted the lake as well. Lake Horowhenua belongs to Mua-Upoko who had been forced to watch helplessly as ancestral lands, placed in ordinary property titles, disappeared through scurrilous means. A Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry had ferreted out fraudulent activities, not only by those purporting to represent the tribe but by Central Government itself…”       Read more here.

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The polluted Lake Horowhenua

Stories like this one are not rare in our indigenous histories … they are just generally unreported in mainstream media. It is also the typical scenario where the costs of preventing environmental damage are ignored in favour of short term profits. The lake has seen decades of pollution (1950s-70s) in the form of human sewage that completely polluted both the food sources and the livelihood of Muaupoko and caused many to leave. Then there has been the surrounding farming and agricultural runoff. Muaupoko who have endeavoured to keep the lake clean have been vilified and maligned as being not the true owners. The official history in fact, also borne out by today’s article in the Standard, reveals their ownership has been whittled away from them incrementally by convoluted land laws and processes, and “left with “a mere sliver” of the 50,000 acres it once had”, again typical in our histories. The lake’s kaitiaki, Phil Taueki has been involved in an ongoing uphill battle in that respect with locals, Council and Police in his efforts to stop ongoing pollution. He featured recently on Kaitiaki Wars (available on demand) and also in this news item from Marae TV on the history and on the Horowhenua District Council’s stance. Taueki states that the lake, “… a prized taonga” has been “turned into the town’s toilet…”

The lake is now so polluted (video)*  it was dubbed in a 2014 Listener article as the ‘Lake of shame’.  It is not safe to drink or to swim in.  A National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist reported in 2012 that the “water in Lake Horowhenua is so toxic that it could kill a small child.” There were plans this year (2015) for swimmers to commemorate ANZAC by crossing the lake (once the training venue for Lord General Freyberg before WWI) however the cost to clean it up was $2.886 million, clearly not a priority. The non priority status of this issue is reflected in the tight time frame given it by the Crown for this hearing, a fact highlighted by Land Claim lawyer Leo Watson.

EnvirowatchRangitikei


Crown Concedes it Failed to Protect Lake Horowhenua from Pollution

By NICHOLAS MCBRIDE “The Crown has conceded it failed to protect Lake Horowhenua from pollution, breached the Treaty of Waitangi on multiple occasions and left the Muaupoko iwi virtually landless.

The Waitangi Tribunal hearing opened at the Horowhenua Events Centre in Levin on Monday, with 22 claims looking at Lake Horowhenua, Hokio Stream and the Horowhenua land block.

“We believe this will be one of the most profound hearings we will have in this district,” Judge Caren Fox said on the opening morning of the tribunal.

In its written submission, released before the hearing, the Crown acknowledged that  the Muaupoko iwi had “well-founded grievances”.

It breached the Treaty of Waitangi  and this allowed Lake Horowhenua to become polluted…

In the opening submissions for claimants, lawyer Leo Watson, speaking on the Hokio A land claim and Horowhenua Lake claim, said the Crown had perpetrated wrongs against Muaupoko, causing “profound generational impacts”….

the Crown had not acted in good faith, not talked with Muaupoko and had failed to protect the lake.

It had also been left with “a mere sliver” of the 50,000 acres it once had.”

Read the article here

* Lake image and video courtesy of Nick Simmons YT Channel

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Marton’s Waste Water plant to get an upgrade

An article by Zaryd Wilson from the Wanganui Chronicle on the waste water treatment plant that has featured greatly throughout the whole recent process of the consent hearings. The matter being the company Midwest Disposal’s disposal of leachate from its Bonny Glen landfill into the plant. Amounts dumped have exceeded consents and been the subject of a long standing status of non-compliance. You can read about that process on the Bonny Glen page.

(The Bonny Glen landfill was sold to Midwest by the Rangitikei District Council around a decade ago and a leachate-dumping agreement was informally put in place – a gentleman’s agreement – that has been far from satisfactory going by the non-compliance history).

A local has contacted the site recently reporting that there are 7-12 round trips on average per day by the leachate tanker. Sometimes two are operating.

“A multi-million dollar upgrade to Marton’s wastewater treatment plant has been endorsed by councillors.

The plan, which includes a second anaerobic pond, new storage tanks and community involvement in the process, was discussed by Rangitikei District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee last week.

A contributor to the current plant’s failure was leachate (landfill run-off), which was trucked to the treatment plant from Bonny Glen landfill… 

Councillor Nigel Belsham said if it was trade waste causing problems to the plant and not domestic waste, the bill should be picked up by industry.

“I don’t believe that ratepayers in this area should be paying to allow trade waste to be dumped into this plant,” he said. “Opus [consultants] have said that we’ve got a plant that can handle what it was designed to handle.”

Read the article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11498302


Further Links:

For info on Bonny Glen: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen/

Leachate history & non compliance reports: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen-submissions-hearings/

Local Feedback: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/bonny-glen/local-feedback/

Council to discuss upgrade of waste water treatment plant

This is from the Wanganui Chronicle and updates us on where RDC is up to with their plans to solve the significantly long standing status of non-compliance with regard to the leachate pollution of the Tutaenui Stream. (To read the full history of this and the non compliance reports see former Martonian Hamish Allan’s submission to the consent hearings earlier this year. There should be an in stream biota survey every three years and it appears there have only been two). More on this later.

Recently a local resident who lives on the truck route informed me he sees 12 round trips per day of the leachate tanker. This is a significantly larger volume than the number that has been cited to the public. 

An upgrade is good news will not be before its time.

Here is the Chronicle article:

“A multi-million-dollar, three-year upgrade of the Marton wastewater treatment plant has been proposed.

Rangitikei district councillors will this morning discuss changes aimed at making the plant compliant with its resource consent.

The MWTP has been non-compliant for at least a decade, partly due to its acceptance of leachate (run-off) from the nearby Bonny Glen landfill. The latest compliance report found the plant’s discharge into the Tutaenui Stream “significantly non-compliant”. At times, ammoniacal nitrogen levels have been 35 times the recommended limit and deemed to adversely affect aquatic life…”

Read More:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11496417 

Damning feedback on Bonny Glen landfill; traffic, noise, smell, and the leachate is far in excess of company claims

I was contacted today with further feedback on the trucking situation in Marton and the Bonny Glen Landfill owned and operated by Midwest Disposals, sold to them a decade or so back by the Rangitikei District Council. There have been ongoing local concerns with their gentleman’s agreement to dump their leachate into Marton’s Waste Water Treatment Plant (read a submission made by then local man Hamish Allan), with a trail of non-consents that Horizons have failed to enforce adequately, if at all. With the landfill now set to quintuple in size following the granting of consents to extend, trucks will almost double in number in spite of claims last year that they would not increase at all. A member of the public has expressed an extensive list of concerns regarding noise, smell, volume of traffic and the leachate problem. I have quoted and slightly condensed these:

  • “I am appalled at the number of rubbish trucks passing our house 6 days per week, and the noise and vibration they make
  • In addition,  the number of tankers taking leachate to the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant is far in excess of claims made by Mid-west Disposals. The number of trips per day is 7 at least, and some days when 2  tankers are used, a total of at least 12 loads are dumped in the Marton treatment plant
  • I fear that this amount of leachate will cause major problems and poisoning of the rivers that receive outflow
  • I fear it  will become a cost to the ratepayers of Marton while the company responsible gets away with not paying for the damage
  • I believe Horizons should be checking and stopping this pollution
  • This landfill must be opposed and shut down as it is a major pollutant of our region
  • we can smell the tip at times when the wind blows from that direction,  6-7 kms away.

No clean and green Rangitikei, just dirty smelly and polluted. It is a  disgrace.”

Please contact the site if you have any similar concerns regarding this landfill and how it is affecting you. And or contact the RDC and let them know. 

~ Envirowatchrangitikei ~

More on Bonny Glen’s leachate disposal … they’re ‘chipping away’ at it

The Chronicle is reporting on the leachate. There have been more discussions regarding the ongoing treatment of this toxic runoff:  “Leachate from the Bonny Glen landfill may soon be treated on site rather than, or before, being dumped into the Marton wastewater treatment plant…”

We heard on June 12th that: “…it would still be a few months before a solution would be finalised concerning leachate…”  and that ” Bonny Glen manager Paul Mullinger …   was taking the issue “very seriously”. They are “… considering some sort of on-site treatment and did not view the issue as insurmountable”… and Deputy Mayor Dean McManaway says “It’s important we keep chipping away and not let this rest.”

Note the operative words here: “may … few months … considering … chipping away”.

It is interesting that on one side of the table, the company that managed to secure a nice loose ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to dump the toxic leachate in the first place, and contaminate our local stream to the extent RDC and Horizons seem unwilling to conduct ongoing in-stream biota surveys, concealing just how loose that agreement was … and on the other side that same company managed to effectively exclude all discussion of leachate, truck nuisance and landfill pests from the hearings altogether. And now it’s all go ahead with the consents safely in hand, still we’re required to ‘chip away’ at things. Some of us are not fooled by all this drag-the-chain rhetoric.

In the meantime, as the latest Chronicle article points out, the waste water treatment plant is still non-compliant.

Read the article here:  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11465277

Landfill expansion granted consents … surprized?

I’m not faintly surprised at this decision. The day I attended the hearing and heard the ‘independent’ Chair’s Freudian slip … “When the consent is granted …”  illustrated quite graphically for me, the extent of the independence of the commission. In addition, all the concerns that any community would naturally have … leachate, trucks, property values … all these were effectively taken off the table. Hamstrung from the start. It is the neighbors of the landfill in particular who will have to live with this. And all those conditions … I’ll be watching keenly to see how strictly they’re adhered to. If it’s anything like the vigilance we have with other consents and pollution of our environment of late, it’s going to be an interesting road forwards.

“The Bonny Glen landfill expansion has been given the go-ahead.

The landfill’s owners, Midwest Disposals has been granted all resource consents to expand the operation.

The decision, released yesterday afternoon, granted the consents for 35 years with land use consents in perpetuity.

It means the size and life of Bonny Glen, near Marton, will increase significantly over the next four decades. The capacity will increase almost five-fold….”

Read the Wanganui Chronicle article by Zaryd Wilson: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11450949

From the Chronicle … Softening the blow … More tree planting for Bonny Glen

Midwest Disposals has added further planting to its plans for the proposed Bonny Glen landfill expansion.

The minor changes are in response to concerns highlighted by commissioners considering the company’s resource consent application.

Midwest has applied for resource consents with Horizons Regional Council and Rangitikei District Council to extend the life and size of the landfill near Marton. More trees will be planted along the edge of the site to mitigate the effects the landfill will have on the landscape and views…. read article HERE

From the Wanganui Chronicle: Smelly and ugly – but necessary (the Landfill)

Smelly and ugly – but necessary

LEACHATE poisoning the Tutaenui Stream, rampant vermin, toxicity, litter, bad smells, increased truck traffic … the crime sheet against the Bonny Glen landfill near Marton is long and ugly.

That is the way it usually is for those lords of the underworld – rubbish dumps.

The application by the waste facility’s owners, Midwest Disposals, to significantly expand the site has naturally prompted fierce opposition from those who live sufficiently close to suffer from its operation.

That opposition has been well-voiced at the consent hearing in Feilding which wrapped up last month – though some concerning aspects around Bonny Glen’s business, extra traffic and leaching among them, were unfortunately ruled beyond the scope of the three commissioners who will issue their decision in May…. read article HERE

More on Marton’s leachate saga

Plant performance queried

By Zaryd Wilson

The persistent resource consent compliance failure of the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant has come under scrutiny.

Representatives from Rangitikei District Council fronted the Horizons Regional Council environment committee yesterday to explain the plant management and decisions made.

The plant’s discharge into the Tutaenui Stream has been failing compliance for at least a decade and is in breach of environmental and reporting conditions.

An independent report last year highlighted leachate, which the plant accepts from Bonny Glen landfill, as the main factor behind significant compliance failure. Without the leachate, the plant would likely meet compliance. RDC has accepted the leachate for a number of years under an informal “handshake” deal in return for payment from landfill operators Midwest Disposals Ltd.

Council representatives acknowledged problems with the MWTP and said they were committed to meeting compliance.

But it is going to cost.

“We regard it as serious and we’re taking our time to get the decisions correct,” Rangitikei Mayor Andy Watson said.

Rangitikei’s infrastructure manager Hamish Waugh said council had improved its data reporting in the past 12 months.

“I acknowledge that it wasn’t up to scratch in the past.”…… read the article HERE

Wanganui Chronicle

Who will pay? Probably not the main polluter in this dance anyway. “…we’re taking our time to get the decisions correct” (emphasis added) …. well that is the truth. And in 2011 ignored attempts by the public via its own community committee to get this whole fiasco out in the open and dealt with.

~ Envirowatchrangitikei ~

From the Standard … Wastewaste discharge to Tutaenui Stream to continue

April 10 2015 …. Caroline Brown from Palmerston North’s Manawatu Standard reports on the ongoing leachate issue and the Rangitikei District Council (RDC).

“The discharge of non-compliant wastewater into the Tutaenui Stream from the Marton Wastewater Treatment Plant is to continue, despite two reports revealing a raft of issues at the site…”

The Council Assets meeting reveals more of the usual ‘pay it forward’ rhetoric that’s been going on for nine years already … aka save money now and forward the expense to a future generation. Cr Dean McManaway says …

“…the council could not just wake up one day and say “no more”. It was a business in the Rangitikei employing people, whether the council liked it or not…”

As usual, businesses ahead of the health of the waterways and the people that use them. We may as well expunge from the records any suggestion of “Rangitikei … unspoilt”. It simply isn’t true.

Read the full article HERE 

Watching our environment … our health … and corporations … exposing lies and corruption

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